The Arkansas Democrat Gazette isn't acting very democratically and has found itself the subject of a protest after denying a gay couple's request to print their commitment ceremony announcement. Details follow.
Cody Renegar and fiance Thomas Staed just wanted to join the many heterosexual couples who announce their upcoming summer nuptials to the community with blurbs in their local paper. But, because Arkansas does not yet recognize the love shared between same-sex couples, the paper says it is against editorial policy to acknowledge their existence.
Reports Yahoo! News:
Renegar said the newspaper declined to run the announcement because of long-standing policy.
According to newspaper representatives, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette charges a minimal fee and has content length requirements, but does run announcements on a regular basis for heterosexual couples, including mixed race couples. They do not run same-sex announcements because the state of Arkansas does not legally recognize those unions.
Gazette publisher Rusty Turner told Yahoo! News on Monday that he was not familiar with Renegar's request, but said it would not be published because of long-standing editorial policies.
"We run announcements for marriages that are legally recognized in Arkansas," Turner said."It is a long-established policy of the newspaper."
"Maybe they just need to take another look at their policies and change them," said Renegar. "It is the right of any couple to be able to share their love and happiness...it's validating." However, Turner told Yahoo! that there are no current plans to review the paper's existing policies.
You will recall that in June another Arkansas paper was the subject of a similar story after it refused to print a gay man's partner's name in his obituary. Because of intense critical reaction from the national LGBT community, the Batesville Daily Guard changed its policy. Perhaps the Democrat Gazette will be inspired to do the same.
(Source and image source: Yahoo! News)